The shaman stood inside the stone circle and chanted. Here on the sacred plains of his people, and in the ways of his forefathers he summoned the sun from it's resting place. His chants were supported by the small choir of women who were placed around the small stone circle. According to legend, the songs of the shaman commanded, and the songs of the women beckoned. Either way, usually, and at the approriate time, the sun rose lazily over the horizon. As it did today. Today however, the sun brought something new, and from his place by the altar in the centre of the stone circle, he noticed the black spec that was above the sun and the sound of the winds, yet no wind blew. It was, he though excitedly, a sign from the great sun god!
The Brotherhood troop carrier
descended quickly and roared through the early morning sky. In the troop
compartment hundreds of soldiers went through the routine of final
checking their equipment. Sisters walked amongst them, offering
benedictions, prayers and blessing their armour and weapons. Up in the
cockpit the pilots flew nape of the earth towards their destination, the
sun behind them. From her seat the Inquisitor Carmilla D'morenta
watched with interest on the various monitors as they flew over plains
and rivers and fields. So the rumours were true, there was indiginous
life here. So much the better for them, and for us. Looking on the
forward monitor she saw the stone circle in the distance and slapped the
arm of the pilot and pointed.
"But Inquisitor, that is not our landing site."
pilot flipped a switch and informed the soldiers to prepare for
landing. They brought the troop carrier around in a lazy arc and landed
not far from the circle. Already the ships in orbit were asking for
clarification on the landing spot. Carmilla ignored them for the moment
and unbuckled herself, pulling her habit on properly and checking her
"Inform the other ships that this is where the outpost will
be constructed. Send them the appropriate landing configuration, we will
check the area."
The pilot acknowledged and lowered the ramps.
women watching the troop carrier fled as it landed and disgorged
people. They ran straight to their village and left the shaman. He stood
watching enraptured as the sign from God sat there like a great hunched
beetle. The people who had come off the ship dispersed in all
directions and some were coming this way. He took his staff of
leadership and walked towards them.
"Brothers! I greet you in the name of...."
Inquisitor at the head of her personal squad of zealous warriors walked
towards the stone circle and saw the man coming towards them. His staff
was raised, and he spoke in a language they did not understand. They
circled him and two went to scout the circle and Carmilla pushed her way
through. She looked him up and down, clad in a long robe with strings
of beads and other jewelry around him, and stylized icons of the sun.
"Do you understand me? You, savage?"
looked at her strangely and spoke, neither could understand the words.
He tapped the symbol on his chest and pointed at the sun, then at
"I think he is some sort of holy man."
"Yes, looks like some sort of solar god. Can we convert them to the true faith?"
"Tricky if they can't speak a civilised language."
mused this and walked into the stone circle, touching the walls and the
masonry. It was old, very old, but repaired and painted, plastered over
in places. The man walked over to the altar and watched them closely.
He pulled out from under a basket full of food and laid it on the
surface and gestured to it. One of the zealots ran a scanner over it and
"The food seems edible, no obvious contaminants. And this seems to be a narcotic of some description."
"So we have food, trade goods and judging from this and the jewels there is plenty to keep us. Have they found his village yet?"
"The scouts have found several, from the look of them all are at the same level of technology. We will have no problems here."
lifted up her habit and pulled out her knife and started tapping the
stones where the new repairs had been made. She scratched the paint
aside and the man shouted at her and shook his head and walked over to
her pushing her back and standing infront of the stone.
at her with amazement! How dare they try and desecrate the temple of
the sun, what were they? Heathens? Were they so uneducated as to not
Her backhand when it came knocked him to the floor. Two Zealots moved in and stood on his arms, keeping him down.
"How dare you strike an Inquisitor of the True One! Are you a heathen? Do you not know the penalty for doing that?"
shouted back at her, and she shouted at him. Both angry and defiant in
the names of their own gods, both learning much and understanding too
little... too late. On the outskirts of the temple, hidden in the
undergrowth the local warriors had seen their Shaman, and the leader of
their people struck down. What they did came naturally to them. They
attacked. And their attack sealed their doom.
Carmilla watched as
her troops pulled back to a defensive position and the fighting
started, row after row of the savages were torn apart, but they kept
coming. The man at her feet was chanting now, irritating her. She pulled
out her pistol and shot him without looking.
"Cleanse the area,
every village for five miles. If you think they can be converted to
worship the True One bring them back. If not, kill them all."
She reached down and took the stylised sun from his chest and crushed it over him.
"One day.... someone will do that to you...."
"So... you can understand. Those who came before us said you could."
"We will be... avenged...."
"But not today."
She shot him again, between the eyes.
all the bodies. Any signs of religious buildings I want them torn down,
any who complain I want them shot. This is my world now. Bring down the
other ships, it's time to start building a real future for these
The great haulers landed in the places asigned to them
and one of Carmilla's girls came over. She was wearing combat gear, but
had kept her headdress. Looking around she could see the plumes of smoke
from the burning villages.
"Had some trouble Carm?"
"Not really. Ready to start building?"
yes, shouldn't take too long to get the basics done, and my explorers
who are still on planet have locations of interesting things to exploit.
There will be a full report for you within the week."
"Good. Make sure this stone circle is used in the construction."
"As a centre for the outpost?"
"If you wish, or as foundation rubble. I'll leave it to your artistic temprament."
"Oh, that reminds me. That small order of nuns you sent to Solo? To the flagritz station?"
She racked her brains for a moment then smiled.
"The Martyrs of the Holy Sepulchre? How are they doing?"
"They uh... want you to call them. Apparently it's urgent?"
sat on the top of the altar and pulled out a communicator. Running the
signal through the troop carrier she managed to raise the ground party.
"Aah, Inquisitor D'morenta. We are so glad you called. We had some trouble finding you."
"I'm setting up an outpost, the expansion must go on. What have you learnt about the Flagritz?"
There was a sound in the background of the communicator, a heavy banging sound. The nun seemed unphased by it.
most of what we found out was as expected. We found three classes, a
heavily xenophobic one, the warrior caste and the peace caste. Only the
traders or peace caste would talk to us."
There was another sound in the background, a heavy repeater being fired.
"Sister, what is going on back there? It sounds like you are shooting something."
some of the Xenophoics took exception to us and got some of the warrior
caste to try and throw us out of the starport."
"Where are you?"
our APC. They can't get in without using something heavy and we think
they won't do that because it will start hostilities. And we can't get
out as they've broken the latch on the door."
"And the heavy repeater?"
"Oh, they just took out out wheels."
"Sister, I'm not happy about this. I'm sending someone down to take over."
"But we can...."
I dont' want to get into a shooting war with the Flagritz, heaven alone
knows what Pyros will say when he finds out what we're doing there. It
took a long time to get access, don't screw it up by killing any
"By the sacred tomes, but what is they eat us?"
"Then pray they don't choke on you and die! D'morenta out."
threw the communicator at the nearest stone circle and kicked her heels
on the altar looking at the blood stain on the floor. Some days, she
thought, it would be nice not to have to kill anyone before breakfast.